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Wednesday, September 01, 2004



After leaving the library at Ivy Tech and doing some laundry, I headed east on Highway 46, and only made it just out of town. Although Columbus has some nice "people trails", its sidewalks in most areas are nothing to brag about. Even in residential areas, walking down the road means either tracking through a lawn or taking a risk of getting run over. The highway on this side of town wasn't quite so bad as it was coming from Bloomingon through Nashville.
East of Colombus, the land is flatter, less forested, and cleared more for corn and the like. Apparently, much of this stretch of road is supposed to be closed for construction, and I went through the site, which was not to busy. Just before noon, I passed a couple of Indiana Highway Department employees flagging traffic. Since I used to have that job, in Utah, I had to stop and talk a little. Traffic wasn't too heavy, and flagging traffic can be a lonely, boring job, so I didn't think they would mind. They mentioned that flaggers for construction outfits earn substantially more than I made in Utah, and commented that people don't offer rides nearly as much as they used to. People are afraid to pick up hikers (or hitchhikers), and people are afraid to walk the roads for fear of getting beaten and robbed. They mentioned that the road is being rerouted and straightened. I could see work on the new roadbed about 1/4 mile up the hill from the creekside it was following. The reason for the flagging was that they had a machine mowing the grass and brush along the roadside. The road will be closed again after Labor day. Just above the flaggers, the road through Hartsville wasn't quite finished: Only one layer of pavement, and lots of brand new curb and gutter. I had in mind stopping there, but either the town is smaller than I thought, or most of the town is off the highway. There was a park where I stopped for an hour or so. I didn't quite make it to Greensburg for the night, but I hadn't expected to. This morning I got up and finished the trip into Greensburg (and through it, since the library is on the east side.)
One of my readers has written in mentioning that my posts are rather bare of analysis and commentary, and the purpose for my trip is not evident. For the reasoning and purpose, it's best to look at the archive starting in May. Having come this far, I mean to finish the trip, rather than plant myself at the nearest convenient place, or turn around and go back. There isn't anything particularly enlightening about counting paces so I know when I have gone about 2 miles, or counting sheep at night because it's too dark to do anything else and I'm not quite tired enough to go instantly to sleep. Except to a farmer, one corn field looks pretty much like another one, and one stretch of forest looks like another. The differences are in the details, which I'm not going to get to know without taking some time to study them.
I do wonder, repeatedly, why people can't, or won't, keep their trash in the car until they find a place that has a garbage container, and why they have to treat the public highways as public waste dumps. Not even the "Adopt a highway" groups are able to keep up with all the litter. Highway maintenance people have other jobs...roads get beaten up with heavy usage, not to mention grass and trees and the like. Perhaps, as in some states, this would be an appropriate job for convicts. I also wonder, when I pass houses with neatly mown yards, what will happen if the price of gasoline goes up so much that they can't afford to run the mower. Of course, that would have other effects, too.
I've also been thinking about the studies I do on my knowledge base. Some of the studies I've been doing recently involve going through sources such as Infoplease and Facts on File to fill in a few more details on recent world history (past 10 years). Picking through this information to format it to match my outline of nations, most especially the few largest, is what I have been doing, and it does need some picking through, because news headlines are not geographically balanced. Later, I will take another pass through the source material, looking for a few more nations, and more detail on those I have already discussed. However, I'm about done with history proper for now, and I'm going to be looking at a few particular nations, and looking at the history from a national point of view.
I'm now roughly 3/4 of the way through the trip, and I'm anxious to get it finished, so I hope to find a map and estimate how many more miles I have yet to go. My own extimates, and that of the highway workers I talked to, suggest that it will take me through September. My next stop will be Batesville; after that, I'm thinking of leaving Indiana route 46 and going through Oxford, Ohio. In this part of the country, it seems that all roads lead to Cincinatti, and I'm still trying to avoid going there.

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